Crystal Relic Collector

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Knack • Acquired a Crystal Relic • Bronze Trophy • Rarity 62.9% (Common)

It’s the freakin’ weekend, and do you know what that means? If you guessed housework, and a day out-and-about, then you’re absolutely correct; but if your guess ventured into something about having to entertain the kids when they’ve had a full day of the aforementioned ‘out-and-about’, and they’re eyes are hanging out of their head … then I’m happy to give you a silver medal as well.

What does this all mean? Why, time to fire up the closest friendly family game, of course – and Knack fit the bill. While we’re pretty much tag-teaming the game for the most part, it really is a case of my son playing for a bit, getting killed, and then me having to go back and get through the next chunk until he feels like playing again. Repeat, ad nauseum.

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Even though he still falls over along the way, he’s certainly got the grasp of the game, and he knows when to look in side doors or areas where chests might be. Even though he breezes past a lot of these things while he’s playing, it pleases me that he’s getting a good grasp of side quests. I’ll turn him into a professional gamer yet!

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This trophy is simply for unlocking a particular type of collectible, or ‘relic’ as the game labels them. I noticed that collecting the full set of these crystals appears to be the requirement for unlocking ‘Vampire Knack’, which – perhaps most importantly – is necessary for another trophy entirely! I can’t see myself in the likely multiple playthroughs needed to obtain the full set, but by the same token, I said that a lot about Max and the Curse of Brotherhood, and then I had to keep going back to it to cater to my son’s obsession, and used the time to 100% it. Silver lining and all that.

Tomorrow is pretty much a dedicated family day, so I’m not sure where I’m going to land when it comes to achievements. I still have many of my quick-and-dirty achievements on Steam there to work my way through, which might be a nice change from the more ‘meaty’ stuff I’ve been working on lately. Final Fantasy VII, in particular, is proving particularly taxing on the mind.

I’m not sure if that reflects the game, the twenty years since it’s been out or … more troubling … my mind!

Open Level 7

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aMAZE ZERO • Open Level 7

I am going out for dinner tonight and I can’t wait – it’s going to be Korean and if I don’t have a stomach ache from eating too much Kim Chi tomorrow, then I’ll consider it a wasted opportunity.

Today’s journey through some of the new indie games on my system continues, with a bit of a session on aMAZE ZERO, which – as the name suggests – is really just a whole series of mazes that you guide a little widget through until completion.

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Look, I’m not going to lie – even after seven levels, the mazes are not that hard. The basic premise of sticking in one direction, or working your way backward from the centre (the end of the maze) is a perfectly legitimate strategy, and – hey, it’s a maze game. The screenshots on Steam show a game that does increase in difficulty as time goes on, but really, none of it looks particularly hard, but, at best, time consuming.

And sometimes I have more time than inclination.

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Achievement Hunter: Begins • NEW_ACHIEVEMENT_DESC_1_0

Wow. This game. What an absolute travesty of achievement collecting. And by travesty I, of course, mean why haven’t I discovered this before?

The giveaway, of course, should probably be in the title. I assume this series of Achievement Hunter games is going to play out in much the same way, whereby simply loading it up nets you a cool few hundred achievements in rapid succession.

I suspect these games offer a philosophical lesson in the fallacy of achievements, and – if I’m perfectly honest – that’s fair. What value do achievements hold if there is no effort in collecting them? My response, however is that achievements reflect a commemoration of an experience. Yes, they vary in the mileage required to earn them, but even in a game like this – I can demonstrate that I experienced Achievement Hunter: Begins as it is supposed to be experienced. The fairly simple gameplay, the overwhelming number of achievement pop-ups that don’t stop the entire time you play – all these things add up to reflect an experience, regardless of the effort applied or the enjoyment obtained.

And trust me, I now have a few hundred extra achievements on my Steam account to prove it.

Survivor!

Rayman Origins • Survived a Piranha Pond without a scratch!

I’ve played a lot of Rayman in various forms over the years – but it’s been so on-and-off I haven’t really worked towards a particular trophy. Between different accounts and different games, it’s always been much more of a casual pleasure than on steady rotation, and so when I was playing around tonight and this trophy popped, it seemed like a good a time as any to celebrate.

Ironically, for the hours I’ve put into the game I still don’t consider myself very good! Every time I attempt one of the timed runs (for another one of the little purple creatures) I fall just short or fail miserably. Que Sera, Sera.

Grabbing this trophy frees me up a bit tonight, so I’m thinking a bit more Fortnite or something more shooty bangs on the fixture.

Either way, flexibility is good – as good as a nostalgic walk down memory lane with a good ol’ Vita game to keep you company.

C2 | Professor Pulverized

Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy • Defeat Ripper Roo

There are very few tortures for parents beyond being forced to wake up earlier than your necessitated 7 hours of sleep and entertain your kids. For me, that pretty much sums up my morning – and much of my day if I’m honest … for a not-insignificantly pained man who has had a bad run of sleep and is slowly decomposing while still alive, it was really the last thing I wanted to do.

What better garnish to a torture than Crash Bandicoot?

To be honest, despite being a traditionally PlayStation guy (until they started baulking at … you know … ‘progress’), my formative years were much more PC and SEGA Master System. As a result, I think my demographic was ‘just’ off the necessary bracket to really feel nostalgic when it comes to Crash … but at the same time, a reboot (or remaster) offers the perfect chance to get back/onto the bandwagon.

It might take me a little longer.

The best thing about Crash is that the levels are nice and short, and you can power through them with your kids (at 6am). The bad thing is – time’s have changed – and there’s just a big assortment of other games that can be played, that look better, feel better, and just generally all-around are more fun to play. Ratchet and Clank is a good example of a reboot done properly, whereas Crash is trying to compete with the like’s of Super Lucky’s Tale and – dare I say it – Knack.

Needless to say, that I was kind of pleased to earn an achievement on this one so I could take it easy for the rest of the day.

And take it easy, I did. My brain now needs a spell from listening to the tunes of Blaze and the Monster Machines.

Hashtag – One of Those Days.

Sharp Dressed Fox

Super Lucky’s Tale • Equiped your First costume • 20G • 4.75% of gamers unlocked this

And now, the end is near. Today is the final achievement in my challenge. Super Lucky’s Tale takes the cake for offering up achievement number 365 I have written about on my journey throughout the past twelve months. Actually, we all know that’s not true – I’ve gotten carried away and written much more about other achievements over the past twelve months – but this one is ‘official’, and while it perhaps doesn’t have the same shine on it like a Destiny 2 Raid Achievement or a ‘game completion’ achievement for the likes of Dark Souls, but I was able to get this achievement with my son beside me as we laughed about a silly little fox putting on a policeman’s outfit and sunglasses – and you know what? That was perhaps the best achievement I could earn today.

I still really love Lucky, I feel like that he is as good as the likes of Banjo-Kazooie or Ratchet and Clank, but he is stuck down the back of the room and flagged as an ‘outsider’. Much the same way that any publisher has trouble breaking into an established genre, up-to-and-including characters, Lucky isn’t really talked about in the same breath – if at all. I would be very surprised if most people have heard of him – and judging by the rarity of some of the achievements in the list for this game (including today’s!), I suspect that there’s a fairly small percentage of people who have felt inclined to pursue a illustrious career playing Super Lucky’s Tale.

I’m going to publish a few thoughts about the year that was in just a minute, so I don’t want to wax lyrical about earning an achievement every day here, other than to say that it’s been a great ride, and I’m pleased I could find a few silver linings in my gaming life as a result of it.

Thanks to everyone who has read, commented – either here or privately – and supported the journey (whether you knew you were or not!) This blog will still be here for a while yet, with some small changes to how I’ll be doing things.

More to come on that soon!

In the meantime – thanks again. In the wise words of one of my favourite former television personalities: May all your games be good ones.

Wanderlust

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Microsoft Bingo • Complete 25 Bingo matches • 100G • 25.75% of gamers unlocked this

I’ve actually had a few different games just running quietly in the background of my laptop for the day. I played a bit of Imperia Online earlier – something that is supposedly connected to Xbox Live on Windows 10, but even when I earned an achievement (seemingly for a certain population figure), there was no record of it on the Xbox App or my account – and so I kicked that achievement to the curb and went hunting for something else that I might be able to obtain.

Of course, the temptation for something really mindless is hard to pass-up – particularly at this stage in the journey, and even more importantly, at this stage of the week. Tonight promises to be an excellent episode of The Handmaid’s Tale if it stays on-par with the rest of the season – and there’s some not-insignificant cliffhangers to wrap-up tonight that I’m very, very keen to see.

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And so I went with Microsoft Bingo. It’s not some AAA action shooty bang, it is a simple game where you mark off numbers as the balls roll up with the respective digits on each of them. It’s Bingo. Plain and Simple.

And daub is still a ridiculous word.

Librarian

Letter Quest: Grimm’s Journey Remastered • Purchased 5 books • 15G • 12.13% of gamers unlocked this

Another fairly simple one this morning. I only had a little bit of time to get ready for work and get out the door, so I thought that Letter Quest seemed like the pick of my library to grab something from before I had to leave.

Once again, it delivered.

Today was as simple as just buying one more book from the shop – which I already had enough crystals to do, but in true gaming fashion, it took a little longer for the achievement to unlock. I suspect that the game is set to hit-up the Microsoft Server, either at certain intervals or it needed me to play a round (which I did anyway) before it popped, but sure enough, just as I was starting to wonder whether I had stuffed something up, it unlocked.

In other gaming news, I finished the Osiris campaign from Destiny 2 last night. Very, very satisfying it was, if I do say so myself. I feel like this pacing of content is exactly what Bungie had in mind for D2, but nonetheless, the rabid fangs of the internet just couldn’t wait that long, and so many have already abandoned the game – and, may I say, it really is to their detriment.

Sure, there’s still some game mechanics and stuff that I haven’t quite mastered (which look like they’ve been introduced since launch), but give it time and I feel like I could absolutely become a Destiny stalwart. (Judging by my first few games of Iron Banner over the weekend, I could actually be pretty good!)

Jet Lag

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Microsoft Bingo • You have endured five numbers that cannot be daubed, called in a row during a match • 40G • 65.75% of gamers unlocked this

I have a fairly severe case of the can’t be bothered’s tonight – my darling children have been doing a red-hot job of keeping me up overnight, and so I could do with a much needed few extra hours sleep, so instead of watching some Netflix and then smashing out an achievement, I let the good times roll in Microsoft Bingo instead while Shameless played out in the background.

I still think ‘daub’ is a strange word, but it gets me an achievement (and a not insignificant GS addition for the day). I have quite a bit of time to dedicate to a solid bit of gaming tomorrow, so with that in mind – I’ll try something a bit more substantial then!

Courage

Beyond Eyes • Feed the cow by hand • 80G • 33.80% of gamers unlocked this

Beyond Eyes isn’t something I’d normally play unless it was free or part of something like Game Pass, but I was a little bit sucked-in by Stallion83’s list of good buys to pickup as part of Xbox’s E3 Sale for Achievement Hunters. This was listed as a circa three hour game to complete, and figuring that I had the better part of a weekend to smash through it, I figured ‘why not?’.

I feel like the game itself is supposed to be more of an experience than an actual game – and I’m fine with that, sometimes it’s nice to do something that doesn’t involve twitch reflexes or, worse, using your brain. There is some puzzle component to Beyond Eyes, but the path I’ve taken so far has been fairly well highlighted for me so far. The section I am up to now, which seems to be alongside a beach or a wharf, is a little more vague, on account of the rain seemingly ‘washing away’ the player character’s memory of where and what items are placed in the environment.

Achievement progress tells me I’m about 66% of the way through the entire game, so it’s probably only another couple of hours worth of gameplay, but the downside to not having a gun to fire, or some obstacles to jump and swing from is that slow walking can kind of feel … well … slow. It’s certainly not a great choice of game for a Dad who has spent a not inconsiderable amount of time awake overnight with a cranky two-year old insomniac.

Tonight I’m out for dinner with friends, which is something I haven’t done with this particular group for a while – some of them being gamers, so I will enjoy the occasional exchange about everything that’s happening in the gaming world. I know one of them is a Sony guy, so I’m looking forward to his take on God of War, while the other is an Xbox – and a big Destiny – guy, so we’ll no doubt be talking about the latest reveal, Forsaken.

And then, well then I’m hoping for a solid, and uninterrupted, eight-hours sleep.